For both home owners and real estate agents, home staging offers a win-win solution when preparing a house for sale. Owners no longer have to rely on their own sense of what looks good or worry about making an empty house appeal to potential buyers, and real estate agents without any style nous can leave interior and décor design to the experts. To negotiate the world of professional home staging, remember:

Do it right the first time
Home staging is a good idea simply because the age-old adage is true: first impressions really do count. Many real estate agents believe that potential buyers have made a decision within ten seconds of walking through the front door. Ensure that you make a strong impression – and that it’s a good one. As well as increasing the likely sale price of your house, home staging may also mean your property is snapped up more quickly, lowering the potential costs of re-advertising your home for sale.

Find a trustworthy professional
As in any profession, there are bound to be some cowboys out there. Find a home stager who can provide testimonials and examples of their work, so that you get a fair idea of what to expect. Ask friends, colleagues and family for referrals, or check with your real estate agent for their recommendation.

Get a quote
Make sure you ask for an estimate; this is relatively quick to calculate and most home stagers are happy to provide a quote at no cost to you. The charges for home staging services will be either hourly or a set fee for completion of the project. When calculating whether you can justify the expense of having your home professionally staged, consider the current condition of your home, the going rate for similar houses in your area and the average length of time houses take to sell in your suburb. Calculate whether the expense of the home staging service balances the expected gain in sale price for your home. Remember, you’ll soon be moving out of your house, so it may not be wise to pour too much cash into home staging.

Be aware of what is included in the home staging service
Ensure you are aware of how the home stager plans on sprucing up your beloved home. This will avoid unexpected extra costs and hint at whether you’re getting value for money. A home stager may:

  • Remove furniture to show a room off to its best advantage and highlight feature points within the house
  • Bring additional furniture (or supply a complete set of household furniture if you are home staging an empty house)
  • Eliminate clutter by reorganising a room
  • Change the furniture layout or alter a room’s lighting to create a different atmosphere

Do your bit to help with the staging of your home
Your home stager may request that you make minor repairs or improvements to your home. Home staging will take care of the decor, arrangement and furnishings within the house, but there is plenty of room for home improvement:

  • Make sure your house has curb appeal - a buyer must like your house from the word go, so make sure the lawns and garden are tidy, the house is freshly painted where needed, the footpath and driveway are clear, trees and shrubs are trimmed.
  • See your house with fresh eyes - imagine how a visitor will see your home. What is the first impression when coming in through the front door? Is there flow between the rooms? Does your home feel welcoming?
  • Clean your home thoroughly - wash windows, clean cobwebs away, vacuum, polish furnishings, wax floors and get rid of any odour of dampness or mildew. Fresh is the key!

Once your home is sparkling and freshly prepared, you may not want to leave, but one thing is certain: potential buyers will be wooed by the tidy, uncluttered, stylish surroundings they encounter on walking into your home. With a bit of luck, your home stager will clinch a quick and financially satisfying deal in the sale of your home.